With pressure building from Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opened the door Monday for legislative action on gun control in the wake of the deadly massacre at a Connecticut elementary school last week.
While he said “no one law” or policy can stop a “determined madman,” Reid argued that Washington is “not doing enough” to protect the public from tragic episodes like the one that unfolded in Newtown, Conn. where 20 children and six adults were murdered by an armed assailant.
“In the coming days and weeks, we’ll engage in a meaningful conversation and thoughtful debate about how to change laws in a culture that allows this violence to continue to grow,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “We have no greater responsibility than keeping our most vulnerable and most precious resource — our children — safe.”
Reid added: “Every idea should be on the table as we discuss how best to do just that.”
The Nevada Democrat’s comments are significant because not only does he have the power to schedule legislation from moving on the floor, but he’s also long been allied with the National Rifle Association. In his 2010 race, he went to lengths to project himself as a fierce defender of gun rights and the Second Amendment. The NRA stayed out of his race against Sharron Angle, a courtesy it did not afford other Democrats who were pummeled by attacks from the gun lobby in the heat of the election season.
Reid’s comments come as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is renewing a push to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, and as other Democrats are seeking to tighten background restrictions and the ability for mentally unstable individuals to access guns.